Colour your garden – London artist offers free mural for your school garden

Could your garden or growing space do with a bright mural? Alessandra Tortone, a London based mural artist is offering to add a splash of colour to your garden!

Garden Organic and Food Growing Schools: London are teaming up with Alessandra to offer you a chance to have a free, bespoke mural (value of £500) painted on a wall or surface in your school or your school’s community garden growing space.

To enter the competition, you’ll need a bright idea and 1-3 concept drawings or artwork, preferably done by pupils involved in gardening at yours school. Here’s how to participate in the competition.

Meet the artist

Maybe you’ve seen Alessandra’s work around London?

One of her most well-known commercial projects has been a collaboration with Paul Sweeney to produce large size wall murals for more than 50 Starbucks coffee shops in the Greater London area.

But about her main passion, Alessandra says, “my favourite projects are children’s murals. They are fun, full of imagination and can transform a space into a magical world. In addition to creating jaw-dropping children’s bedrooms, I worked for a number of nurseries and children’s hospitals in London including Whittington Hospital in Archway and Queensbury Nursery in South Kensington.”

Her journey as an artist started in 2000 in her home of Sardinia, Italy. She says, “though I graduated as an accountant (this career lasted only 20 days!), my passion for painting was stronger. With a support of my family I was able to pursue my true calling. I attended a number of painting and drawing courses in both Rome and Sardinia. As a result, my art works progressed from smaller scale projects into larger wall murals and frescos in private homes and restaurants in Sardinia.”

Ready to participate?

The deadline for submissions is Friday 1 December so don’t hesitate!

Get the full competition details here.

Autumn teachers’ Food Growing Forum an all-round success!

Food Growing Schools London teams up with other organisations and councils in boroughs across London to get more schools engaged in growing.

October’s food growing forum held after school hours and hosted at St Andrew’s (Barnsbury) Primary School was a great success. 16 teachers from across Camden and Islington participated in the informative and inspiring session by sharing tips and resources from their food growing journey and initiatives.

Nick Ives, Engagement Officer for Food Growing Schools London (FGSL) writes:

“One of the best things about my role is working with fellow food growing enthusiasts – Marjon Willers, a Specialist Dietitian from the School Improvement Service of Islington is certainly one of those!  We connected in the summer term and agreed to hold some food growing forums for teachers after school in the Autumn and Spring terms. Marjon agreed to find a host school and invite participants, my colleague Lisa Grant and I agreed to facilitate the session.

Our hosts Jacqui and King, from St Andrew’s (Barnsbury) Primary School generously welcomed 16 teachers and ourselves for the after school session which lasted an hour and a half.

To make best use of time we structured the session into four phases and encouraged constructive dialogue throughout:

  • a brief introduction from each participant and an expression of what they wanted to get out of the session
  • a demonstration from Lisa of the key features of the redesigned FGSL website
  • a tour from King and Jacqui of the school growing spaces
  • brief plenary to pull ideas together and agree some actions.

Some participants were new to growing, others more experienced. We had plenty of useful discussions, in which we shared relevant experiences and ideas, as well as sign posting to helpful resources and expertise.  Some hoped to find out what to grow through the winter, others wanted to know how to make the best use of limited concrete growing spaces. As facilitators we made sure that every participant had a chance to get their questions addressed.

We encouraged everyone to keep in contact with us at Food Growing Schools: London – firstly to let us know what further support we can offer via our online survey and secondly to sign up for our regular FGSL Newsletter. We look forward to all meeting up again in the spring to share our growing stories some more.

Feedback

This is what participants were kind enough to say about our forum:

  • ‘Well organized, informal and practical. Plenty of ideas to take forward’
  • ‘I have lots of cross curricular ideas now. More ideas for how to involve children in gardening’
  • ‘Found out what to plant in Winter’
  • ‘It’s great to see how another school is using its space and what they are growing’
Get in touch

Would schools in your borough benefit from a session of sharing and discussion like this one? Find out more, get involved and organise a session in your borough, simply email fgslondon@gardenorganic.org.uk or call 02476217747.

 

 

School Marketplace at City Hall

School Marketplace is a FREE, unique and once a year opportunity for pupils to sell your school’s garden produce/harvest in City Hall.

This is Capital Growth’s 4th year of running the event and this year it will take place on Friday, 13 Oct from 12 noon to 2pm.

Be sure to keep up with Capital Growth for future events like this and check in on Twitter for photos and news!

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The deadline to apply is Thursday, 5 of October.

To confirm your school’s place simply email: chris.speirs@sustainweb.org or complete the application form and send to Chris by Thursday 5 of October. Any questions call Sustain on: 020 7065 0902

Garden produce could be anything from fresh produce, like tomatoes, herb bunches or potatoes, to goods like jam, chutney, cordial, potted plants, seeds, baked goods, hanging baskets or fresh snacks. Everything you bring to sell should include produce from your school garden.

Important details:

  • It’s completely free
  • There will be prizes for Best Dressed Stall, Most Innovative Product and   People’s Choice.
  • A maximum of 5 attendees per school, including children and adults (pupils must be able to attend).
  • Registration is simple and through our website: www.capitalgrowth.org/school_marketplace

Making the most of a small space

Growing in a small plot
Growing in a small space

The hats and gloves have been packed away and the sun has been making an appearance across the country.  With the warmer and lighter days comes the opportunity to pull on your wellies and start growing food at your school this year.

We know it might seem a bit daunting at first so we have put together a series of blogs to help you spring over the hurdles and get started.

Our schools survey showed that around 30% of schools consider lack of space to be one of the biggest hurdles to food growing that they face. So, first things first – where can we grow?

If you happen to have a nice sunny spot on your school playing field then great, start digging! But if not, don’t give up.  Lots of food can be grown in containers of all shapes and sizes on the ground, on windowsills or hanging down.

John Ruskin Primary School in Southwark have limited outdoor space so all of their growing is in trugs and raised beds built on the playground, and with help from Walworth Garden Farm, they have also started growing food on the roof of the school.

They have lost a bit of playground area but the children play around the beds which makes the space more dynamic. Now they’re thinking of how to make opportunities to grow upwards, using archways and trellis to get the most out of every square foot.

Suzy Gregory, Co-Deputy Headteacher suggests getting a planter as big as you can afford, and just start growing.  Plant something easy like lettuce, potatoes or tomatoes and give it a grow!

Recipe for Success

  1. Look at your space with new eyes and think creatively, use these resources to help choose crops that do well in small spaces
  1. Small manageable spaces can produce lots of different types of crops, this resource form Garden Organic helps you get the most out of a 120x120cm space
  1. If you want to gain as much growing area as possible consider your school roof but make sure you seek advice from professionals first

Grow Your Own Picnic

Time to Grow Your Own Picnic!
Time to Grow Your Own Picnic!

What better way to show off the school’s new-found gardening skills than to Grow Your Own Picnic to share with pupils, parents and the local community.

The FREE Grow Your Own Picnic Pack from Food Growing Schools: London is jammed full of advice, tips and activities to help you plan and grow crops and then turn them into delicious home-made dips, sandwiches, salads and other delights to create a summer picnic feast.

The pack also includes advice for linking with your local community to generate support for your growing activities and to share the spoils of success at the end of the summer term.

So what are you waiting for? Download the Grow Your Own Picnic pack now and start to harvest the benefits of school food growing.

Fantastic news for Food Growing Schools: London!

Fred Wilcox, RHS Young Gardener of the Year, at the Food Growing Schools: London Schools Marketplace with City Hall staff. Trafalgar Infants School, Richmond. Jane Baker/Garden Organic
Fred Wilcox, RHS Young Gardener of the Year 2016, at a Food Growing Schools: London Schools Marketplace. Trafalgar Infants School, Richmond. Jane Baker/Garden Organic

New funding secured to continue

We are delighted to announce plans to build on the fantastic achievements of Food Growing Schools: London by continuing to promote food growing in London schools.

For the past three years, Garden Organic has been leading the Food Growing Schools: London partnership (funded by the Big Lottery Fund), working with the Mayor of London, Capital Growth, the Soil Association’s Food For Life project, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), School Food Matters and Trees for Cities.

Due to end in March this year, Food Growing Schools: London has achieved remarkable results helping to promote and support food growing, healthy eating and sustainability in schools across London. Now, thanks to financial support from a major donor, Garden Organic is thrilled to be able to build on the successes and learning of this project for a further 12 months.

Chris Collins, Head of Organic Horticulture at Garden Organic and former Blue Peter Gardener, is thrilled that this project will continue: “It’s such an uplifting piece of news – Garden Organic has made great strides in the past three years, highlighting and supporting the fundamental importance of organic food growing in schools.” He commented. “Understanding the process from seed to plate is a life skill, and the hard work of those involved in the Food Growing Schools: London project has made great leaps in educating the next generation. However the work is far from done; we have set off on the road and it is superb news that continued funding enables us to carry on this positive work.”

Garden Organic’s Head of Education, Colette Bond has been involved in the project since its inception. “Garden Organic has, for decades, been involved in encouraging children to grow food. We know that something as simple as growing fruit and veg organically can have a life-changing impact on children.” She commented. “A large number of London pupils have never been exposed to food growing. We’re delighted with the impact the Food Growing Schools: London project has had so far, and to now have the opportunity to continue this work.”

This support will allow Garden Organic to evolve the project over a 12 month period; to enhance the most successful elements so that even more schools embrace food growing and enjoy the life-changing benefits it has been proven to bring.

The Food Growing Schools: London website has information and downloadable resources for schools interested in accessing the support offered. Alternatively, to discuss the project further, or to talk through specific requirements, please contact education@gardenorganic.org.uk.

About the project

Food Growing Schools: London, launched in 2013, was established to increase the number of London schools growing food. Through a combination of hands on support, teacher training, termly growing activities and regular events, the project has delivered impressive achievements. An independent review of Food Growing Schools: London reported that 87% of London schools surveyed are now involved in growing, with 1 in 4 linking food growing directly to the curriculum. This take up of food growing activities has led to a significant increase in pupils being more aware of healthy eating and sustainability – enabling them to start making healthy life choices from an early age.

The independent external evaluation of the project, completed in 2016 by the University of the West of England, is available to download here.

London schools celebrate food growing success at City Hall

Junior Gardeners’ Question Time at the Food Growing Schools: London Celebration Event at City Hall. The young panellists were from Trafalgar Infant School (Richmond), Rokesly Junior School (Haringey) and Reay Primary School (Lambeth).
Junior Gardeners’ Question Time panelists from Trafalgar Infant School (Richmond), Rokesly Junior School (Haringey) and Reay Primary School (Lambeth). Photo: Jane Baker/Garden Organic.

From strawberry jam to tomato ketchup, and the great British apple to winter salad bags – young entrepreneurs from 10 London schools shared their food growing skills with the public at City Hall on Thursday 13 October 2016. They represent the increasing number of London students experiencing the huge benefits of food growing since the launch of Food Growing Schools: London (FGSL) in 2013.

On Thursday 13 October 2016 during a unique FGSL Celebration Event, students showcased their school-grown produce at the sixth FGSL Schools Marketplace, run in partnership with Capital Growth, and took to the stage in the prestigious London’s Living Room.

The event was opened by Joanne McCartney AM, Deputy Mayor for London, and Deputy Mayor for Education and Childcare, for the Greater London Authority. It included the launch of the FGSL Interim Report (October 2016), showing the wide ranging benefits of food growing. There was also FGSL’s very own Junior Gardener’s Question Time, chaired by former Blue Peter Gardener Chris Collins – with food growing questions answered by children from schools across London.

When he attended the last Schools Marketplace at City Hall, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “ I’m really pleased to host the Schools Marketplace in City Hall. I want to help Londoners to have access to better food, and lead healthier lifestyles, so it’s great to see these young people growing their own grub and developing entrepreneurial skills.”

Students from schools in Croydon, Ealing, Greenwich, Haringey, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Richmond and Southwark took part, and won prizes as part of the *Schools Marketplace Competition.

Fred Wilcox, RHS Young Gardener of the Year, at the Food Growing Schools: London Schools Marketplace with City Hall staff. Trafalgar Infants School, Richmond. Jane Baker/Garden Organic
Fred Wilcox, RHS Young Gardener of the Year at the Schools Marketplace, selling produce from the Trafalgar Infant School stall (Richmond) to City Hall staff. Jane Baker/Garden Organic

*Schools Marketplace participants and competition prize winners:

  • Athelney Primary School, Lewisham
  • Charlton Park Academy, Greenwich
  • Dormers Wells High School, Ealing
  • Elmwood Primary School, Croydon
  • *Holy Trinity C of E Primary School, Lewisham: Winners – ‘Best Dressed Stall’
  • *Kelvin Grove Primary School, Lewisham: Winners – ‘People’s Choice’
  • Reay Primary School, Lambeth
  • *Rokesly Junior School, Haringey: Winners – ‘Most Enterprising Product’
  • Rotherhithe Primary School, Southwark
  • Trafalgar Infant School, Richmond

Mark Dale-Emberton, Principle at Charlton Park Academy, Greenwich said: “Working with Food Growing Schools: London has helped us re-evaluate and reenergise the staff and students. We have looked afresh at our curriculum and how we can use the food that we grow to improve our meals, health and general wellbeing.”

Since their launch in 2013, Food Growing Schools: London have seen an amazing 25 out of 33 London boroughs step up to promote food growing in schools. The Benefits of Food Growing are impressive and far reaching – showing a positive impact on children’s physical and mental health, environment and education, and the local community and economy. Nearly 80% of schools engaged with FGSL have reported improved behaviour or attainment in students as a result of food growing, and one in four schools now use food growing as a teaching tool linked to curriculum activities. The FGSL report, containing the outcomes of an independent project evaluation by University of the West England, celebrates the successes of this innovative London-wide partnership, led by Garden Organic. The project is supported by the Mayor of London and the Big Lottery Fund.

James Campbell, Chief Executive, Garden Organic said: “I am deeply proud of what we have achieved so far — *87% of London schools are now growing food and considerably more pupils, parents, community members and businesses are involved.”

Speakers at the celebration event included Chris Collins (former Blue Peter Gardener, Broadcaster and Head of Horticulture at Garden Organic), James Campbell (CEO Garden Organic), Judy Orme (Professor of Public Health and Sustainability) and Mat Jones (Associate Professor of Public Health, University of West England).

Chris Collins, Broadcaster and Head of Horticulture at Garden Organic said: “I’m lucky to be out and about meeting students all the time, and it’s been amazing to see the difference Food Growing Schools: London is having in our London schools. The food growing support, resources and expertise the partnership provides is fantastic. Every school should take advantage and get involved!”

Whether you are already growing food in your school, you wish to get started, or you represent an organisation who can help, Food Growing Schools: London is open to all to Get Involved.

Ends


Notes

Jane Baker – Communications Officer, Food Growing Schools: London
07474210703 (PT – Mon to Thurs only)
jbaker@gardenorganic.org.uk
www.foodgrowingschools.org / https://twitter.com/FoodGrowSchools

Spokespeople – Chris Collins (Broadcaster and Head of Horticulture at Garden Organic) and James Campbell (CEO Garden Organic)

Food Growing Schools: London is an ambitious Lottery funded project, supported by the Mayor of London that aims to get every London school growing their own food. Garden Organic as the lead organisation is working together with partners, Capital Growth, the Soil Association’s Food For Life project, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), School Food Matters and Trees for Cities. The Schools Marketplace, organised with FGSL partner Capital Growth, took place as part of Grow Your Own Business 2016. #GYOBusiness

FGSL Interim Project Report (October 2016)*
An independent project evaluation by University of the West England (Bristol), summarising the progress of the programme in its third year, assessing the impacts of FGSL for participants and wider stakeholders, focusing on schools and those supporting school food growing. To download the full report visit: Our Achievements

*Figures based on evaluation surveys with lead school teachers in September 2013 (n=504) and July 2016 (n=241). The independent FGSL project evaluation was carried out by research teams from the University of the West England and Cardiff University.

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Schools Marketplace at City Hall – tomorrow!

Dormers Wells High School, Ealing. Winners of the Best Stall at the FGSL Schools Marketplace at City Hall in October 2015.
Dormers Wells High School, Ealing. Winners of the Best Stall at the FGSL Schools Marketplace at City Hall in October 2015.

Schools Marketplace, City Hall – Thursday 13 October 2016

The day has nearly come for the sixth FGSL Schools Marketplace at City Hall. Students from 10 schools in Croydon, Ealing, Greenwich, Haringey, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Richmond and Southwark will be taking part, including:

Athelney Primary School – Lewisham
Charlton Park Academy – Greenwich
Dormers Wells High School – Ealing
Elmwood Primary School – Croydon
Holy Trinity C of E Primary School – Lewisham
Kelvin Grove Primary School – Lewisham
Reay Primary School – Lambeth
Rokesly Junior School – Haringey
Rotherhithe Primary School – Southwark
Trafalgar Infant School – Richmond

To celebrate all this fantastic growing, we will be awarding prizes during the day for Best Dressed Stall, Most Enterprising Product and for the People’s Choice of their favourite stall.

Join us from 11am – 2pm on the Lower Ground Floor (Map area) to try out some tasty school-grown produce and Autumn treats. The event is organised with project partner, Capital Growth.

Our main FGSL Celebration Event will also be taking place upstairs in London’s Living Room at City Hall, from 10.45am – 1.30pm, with a chance to visit the Schools Marketplace during the day.

City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London, SE1 2AA

See you there!

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Under 3 weeks to go! Book your FREE City Hall ticket

There are less than three weeks to go until our Food Growing Schools: London celebration event. Have you booked your FREE ticket to join us at City Hall?

The FGSL office is a hive of activity as we prepare for the big day. We are pleased to announce that the event held at London’s Living Room will be opened by Joanne McCartney AM, Statutory Deputy Mayor for London, and Deputy Mayor for Education and Childcare, for the Greater London Authority.

We also have some fantastic activities lined up for you – including Junior Gardener’s Question Time – chaired by former Blue Peter Gardener Chris Collins – with an opportunity for you to get your food growing questions answered!

A Celebration of Food Growing Schools: London

On: Thursday 13 October 2016
From: 10.45am – 1.30pm (please arrive promptly for registration)
At: London’s Living Room, City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, London, SE1 2AA

Join us to celebrate the achievements of the project and to hear about the transformational effects of school food growing first hand from teachers and pupils that have been involved.

Hear inspirational presentations from guest speakers, look at the findings of our research and have the opportunity to network over a tasty lunch. You can also buy school-grown produce at our fabulous Schools Marketplace downstairs!

Whether you are already growing food in your school, you wish to get started, or you represent an organisation who can help – this event is for you. All welcome!

See our previous blog for more details and how to book!

Enterprising Croydon Schools hold Marketplace

Thursday 20 October 2016, 1.00pm – 2.00pm. FREE ENTRY.
Croydon Clocktower, Katharine Street, CR9 1ET

On Thursday 20 October, enterprising schools in the Food Flagship borough of Croydon will be hosting their very own Schools Marketplace at the Croydon Clocktower. Their second local Schools Marketplace coincides with this Autumn term’s Grow Your Own Business activities which see schools all across London growing, harvesting, packaging, promoting and selling in their local communities.

The lucky Croydon schools will show off their school grow produce from 1-2pm, selling everything from locally grown fresh fruit to vegetables, herbs, plants, jams and chutneys, all on sale for competitive prices! The Schools Marketplace is free to enter and open to all. So roll up, roll up and do your shopping in Croydon, but be careful to get there quickly before you miss out on all these edible treats. You may even find something tasty for your lunch there too! For more information about this event please email laura.flanagan@croydon.gov.uk

Don’t miss out on another exciting opportunity – the sixth FGSL Schools Marketplace at City Hall taking place on Thursday 13 October 2016, and our fantastic FGSL Celebration Event, hosted by the GLA in the prestigious London’s Living Room at City Hall on the same day.

Visit our Training and Events page to find out about more school food growing and enterprise activities taking place near you this Autumn.